21 March 2012

Q&A: The Origami Geometer

From ACM TechNews:
Q&A: The Origami Geometer
Nature
(03/15/12) Jascha Hoffman

Computer scientist Eric Demaine has advanced computational geometry and produced art by harnessing the principles of origami, and the results of his research include an algorithm for folding any three-dimensional (3D) shape out of a single sheet of paper. One project he is engaged in seeks an algorithm that can generate any 3D shape using a method in which the material is pulled into the shape naturally by the force of the creases. "We have devised a grid-based crease pattern that would allow a microscopic sheet to self-fold into any shape, in theory, by making cubes that stack together like 3D pixels," Demaine notes. He says he is currently exploring origami configurations with curved creases, in collaboration with his artist father. Demaine notes that the creation of the physical models involves paper scoring by a robotically controlled laser, while the final folding is always done manually. One focus of Demaine's research is balloon animals, which he says could be perceived as outlining the edges of a flat-sided 3D solid. This notion led to the discovery of an algorithm that provides the number of balloons needed to construct a given solid.

View Full Article
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7389/full/483274a.html

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